Too much coffee at the bar this evening, so couldn't even think about sleeping. Spent the entire night (well, other than a couple of emails and a blog post) doing paper tests for approaches to the Open Source billing system.
The idea being that I'm trying out ideas for how to structure the system (and provide interfaces to that structure) so that the admins could set up the bulk of the VoIP and ISP provisioning systems (the two with which I'm most familiar) without needing any coding. The coding would be isolated to scripts for configuring and checking the backend configuration.
I'm still working out how to deal with inventory management more elegantly, but it really does look like it needs a special subset of the general rules to properly handle it (e.g. continuing to charge for it even though the accounts on which it depends are suspended). Still lots and lots to deal with before the paper design is finished, but the general approach seems workable as a data-model for the application. I haven't tried to model the data-storage mechanisms yet, those are pretty much orthogonal to the application-level models and trying to work with that many variables simultaneously would be kinda pointless (especially in the middle of the night).
Have to remember, though, this is not (yet) paying work. So can't spend days and days on it. Need to concentrate on stuff that will pay chocolate and coffee for at least the next couple of weeks (at which point, hopefully, I'll start to get an idea of how much cash-flow I'll have month-to-month). And with that thought I'm going to try to get to bed... soon... really.
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